Hoping for a better year

David DeCristoforoís blog today is on the same topic I planned to discuss Ė a look back at 2010. He just beat me to it by a few hours.

Like David, I have no plans to put 2010 down as a very good year, either. Iím guessing the same may be true for you. The economy has just been terrible for a long time now and while there have been a number of positive signs that hint an improvement may be just around the corner, Iím not exactly sure when weíre going to get to that corner.

There were some good things about 2010 for me. I did a number of articles and had two woodworking books come out this year, for example, and got contracts for two more. Sounds like Iím busy Ė and I am Ė but books donít amount to much spendable cash at first (meaning now). Book advances are embarrassingly small, with the real value of a book coming later from the royalties. Unfortunately, itís too early for royalties just yet, but soon.

On the positive side, although 2010 was my worst year so far this century Ė and for the last several years of the previous one Ė Iíve noticed a bit of a turnaround in the yearís waning months due to some additional avenues of work similar to those David describes. These amount to the writing equivalent of the small projects and repair jobs he mentioned: Not what you really want to be doing, but within your talents and abilities. For me that means a lot of work-for-hire hack writing (some, fortunately, about woodworking). While not enjoyable or my main way of making a living, theyíre not entirely hateful and do provide a steady and reliable, if minor, income. Combine this with the small items Iíve started making for some galleries lately, and if my regular work stays the same in 2011 as it was in 2010, then thatís enough to tell me that next year will be better than this one.

Sure, the ďregularĒ work part of that equation is key and must hold steady, but I have every reason to expect it to. Iím hopeful for the coming year. More importantly, Iím feeling a bit confident. Not a lot, but a bit.

OK, David and I have each shared our 2010 impressions. How about you?† Putting it bluntly, here are two questions: What was 2010 like for you, and what are your expectations for 2011?

Till next time,



  • Paul says:

    I’m starting to feel like the odd man out–but in a good way. We have been on a constant up-tick for the last couple years–2009 was a 20% increase and 2010 looks closer to a 45% increase over the top of that. Makes me wonder if I’m doing something right–or maybe doing something very wrong that’s working anyway.

  • John Murphy says:

    This has been our best year we have had in 25 years. By the end of July we had out done any previous year. We were extremly fortunate that we are very good at doing schools. In Colorado quite a few bound Issues were pass a couple of years ago before the ression. This kept us quite busy thru September. We feel quite fortunate to have this type of business come our way.

    John Murphy

  • Fred Friar says:

    Always a pleasure to read AJ. The rocker business has be off for me BUT I got publishing in Woodshop news although just the photo to make the other guy look good. Perhaps 2011 is my turn

  • Frank says:

    I must be one of the very few that has a back log that goes into 2012. My CPA came into the shop a few monts ago and informed me that I was NOT to take on any more work for at least next year to catch-up on my avry patient clients.
    I am one of the few people that has survived in this community for the last 28 years. I specialize in antique conservation. Funny how the “bad” times bring folks to my door. When times are good, my business falls off. The worse it is, the better it is for me….go figure…
    I have tried to find help, but, noone that I have found is wort the time and effort to cover all the detalis that I do. One man asked my friend how long it would take him to become as good as me and my friend said,”Abour 20 years”.
    I am thank full for my business and share my knowlede whenever I can with the Guild Of Oregon Woodworkes in class that they offer twice a month. One is five hours on operation of the table saw and related saws. One on furniture restoration that is two days and I touch on 30+ subjects, One on tips and secrets to becoming a better and more effecient woodworker. SO, in my case, giving has paid off in dividends that I cannot count.
    If you would like to talk to me, call 541-296-1066. Oh ya, I also teach how to sharpen a chisel to razor sharpness in 30 seconds or less…GRIN….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Terms of Use.